Magical Tales of Carrots and Ginger

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I saw a 5-pound bag of carrots at the grocery store for about $3 and I said wow what a great deal! And I brought home nearly 25 carrots. 

I guess I was thinking about our pup and that maybe he’d like some carrots for a healthy snack. Turns out he doesn’t really like carrots that much.

So now I have too many carrots. And what does one do with too many carrots? Why, you make things that use up carrots, of course.

We’ve had carrot salad, carrot soup, and carrot cake. It’s the latter two that I wanted to talk to you about today because their success depends on an ingredient that is decidedly not carrots.

Today’s magic ingredient is ironically not carrots, but…ginger! 

I think that ginger is typically associated with Asian types of foods. Or pickled with sushi. Right? But did you know it also pairs beautifully with carrots? (And for that matter, with other orange-fleshy things like butternut squash)

I know this because I continually tout myself as “so not a fan of butternut squash soup.” But if it has had some minced ginger added to it, then I can handle it. As I made the carrot soup the other day (sorry, no photos, but read the recipe here), I became a bit doubtful as it smelled very acridly sweet and earthy and borderline butternut squashy. What? Isn’t that how you describe the smell of carrots?

Fortunately for me, ginger helps to cut through that earthiness and allows the savory sweetness of the carrot to shine through. So if you follow that recipe (and I do recommend it – we ate it for days afterward), don’t skimp on the ginger. 

Minced ginger is the one ingredient on which I occasionally pull a cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater because I love this: Ginger People’s minced ginger.

Organic Minced Ginger

source: Ginger People’s website

I can keep it in the fridge and scoop out a spoonful whenever I need it, not having to worry about whether the dried out piece of ginger root I dug up from the depths of my fridge from who-knows-how-long ago is still potent.

In fact, I so loved the carrot-ginger soup, that I got a little crazy and adapted Smitten Kitchen’s maple cream cheese frosting for her carrot cake by adding some ground ginger right into the frosting. And can I humbly say, it was amazing? I brought some cupcakes to work and they were gone in less than 30 minutes. Even at the good-morning hour of 8am!

Maple-Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting (enhanced from, and for use with Smitten Kitchen’s carrot cake)

makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes

– 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 1/8 cup (or 2 tablespoons) good maple syrup
– 3/8 teaspoon ground ginger (or slightly more to taste)

Stir together cream cheese, butter, and sugar in mixer until incorporated and fluffy. Add maple syrup and ground ginger.

Now, this is not the kind of frosting that I’d want to just eat out of the bowl. Not that you couldn’t – indeed you could, but it just becomes even more out-of-this-world when sitting atop a gloriously moist carrot cake cupcake. Maybe topped with a paper-thin slice of candied ginger. Further, if you’re not a big maple syrup fan (I’m not either – until recently I preferred my pancakes with a slab of butter only, thank you), don’t be intimidated by the smidgey amount in this recipe. It won’t be overpowering, I promise.

Have you ever paired carrots and ginger in interesting ways? What other magical properties of ginger (or of carrots) have manifested themselves in your kitchen? Do tell.

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3 thoughts on “Magical Tales of Carrots and Ginger

  1. Nicole says:

    you had me at “carrot cake” (: will definitely have to try when i’m back home with a kitchen!

  2. […] days are tasty, sure, but at some point, a homemade layer cake with whatever trying-to-be-exciting combination of flavors I whip up for buttercream frosting becomes overdone–dare I say on par with cake mixes overdone (gasp!). This vintage berry cake, […]

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